Trump says US and China will remain friends and China will take down trade barriers because it’s the right thing to do.
President Xi and I will always be friends, no matter what happens with our dispute on trade. China will take down its Trade Barriers because it is the right thing to do. Taxes will become Reciprocal & a deal will be made on Intellectual Property. Great future for both countries!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 8, 2018
Farm belt politicians don’t see things the same way: Anger Over Trump Tariffs Puts Republican Candidates in a Bind.
In North Dakota, a major soybean-producing state, Representative Kevin Cramer, a Republican who is running for the Senate, sounded restrained this past week when he urged Mr. Trump to “take a more measured approach” to China. By Friday, he sounded panicked.
“I contacted @SecretarySonny to urge him to use every tool in the Farm Bill, including Commodity Credit Corp programs, to protect ag producers from effects resulting in potential trade actions against China,” he wrote on Twitter, referring to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.
A trade war with China could be particularly devastating to rural economies, especially for pig farmers and soybean and corn growers. Nearly two-thirds of United States soybean exports go to China.
Iowa’s senators — Joni Ernst and Charles E. Grassley, both Republicans — have called on Mr. Trump to reconsider. In a statement, Ms. Ernst cited the “real danger that increased tariffs on U.S. exports will harm Iowa producers and undermine the rural economy,” and she said she had spoken directly with the president about it.
While some farmers and lawmakers have expressed hope that Mr. Trump’s threats are merely a negotiating tactic, administration officials insisted this past week that was not the case.
“There is the potential of a trade war,” Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, said in an interview with CNBC. “There is a level of risk that we could get into a trade war.”
“Trump is not just using tariffs as a negotiating card. He said that to me,” Mr. Kudlow told reporters on Friday.